Saturday, 11 February 2012

Its been a while........

Hi guys
I know it has been a while since I last had a ramble on here. I have been out of the saddle since the end of November and did not want to bore you with blogs of how bored and frustrated I have been (lets just say i now have no hair left!!). Anyway I am now back in the saddle and couldn’t be happier, before my time off I was rather busy so did not have time to post much so lets catch you up with that first.
Then 5yr old (now 6yr old) Barinka Hfd moved up from Novice to Elementary very comfortably and on our last outing before she went on maternity leave we won our second Elementary on 74%!! A very good note to finish on I think. We are now anxiously awaiting her foal due at the end of Feb. She is in foal to International Grand Prix Stallion Mooiman Hfd, i have my fingers crossed for a grey foal as there are not allot of Mooiman Hfd grey's around. With Mooiman as the sire and Barinka Hfd's talent and amazing work ethic the foal is sure to be a star, so it came as no surprise that her owner has already had offers on the un born foal!
Barinka Hfd

Spyder Hfd now 4yr old AES breeding stallion has also been progressing fantastically. His flat work developing in the correct way and really starting to soften in his back allowing me to sit right into him. His willingness to learn still amazes me and he never fails to make me smile. I am looking forward to our first outing in 2012. He also had a little play over jumps for the first time before Christmas and he thoroughly enjoyed it (the bucks and squeals kind of gave it away) and he also showed a very promising technique, hopefully we can do some 4yr old jumping classes this year too! 4yr old Spyder Hfd.
 A few breakers came and went one in particular to mention a now 4yr old coloured cob X. This little mare came to me because her owner had bought her and been told she was "broken". Her owner trusted this and took the mare home, tacked up walked two strides and found herself clinging on as the mare stood bolt upright! Fortunately her owner realised she needs some assistance (this was the first youngster she had bought) and contacted me straight away. It was very clear that the mare did not have a clue what she was being asked to do, and due to her no objection to tack I can only assume that the previous owners idea of "broken" is here is a saddle, here is a bridle, plonk a person on, lead them about a bit and vwala a "broken" horse!! This really angers me that people have such little respect for the horse and the person they have effectively conned. The owner of this mare could have been seriously hurt due to the sellers lack of morals/knowledge, or the mare could have been sold to someone less understanding and could have been taken for a naughty pony and been dealt with a different way. Luckily the mare went to the right home and then spent 3 weeks with me and went home happy that she now knew what she was being asked to do. She actually turned out to be a very sweet and patient mare, who I now still teach with her owner and it’s great to see the happy result of what could have been a very bad situation.

Now more recently, I jumped back in the saddle with a new schooling project and possible competition prospect. A lovely Irish Draught X grey mare 5yrs old, but broken late so still at 4yr old training. She is proving to be a very enjoyable project as with the big ' I don’t want to do that’s’ also come very big UP's. She is a true all or nothing kind of mare, comes out very tight in the back and takes a while to soften. We are getting there slowly each day is better and the contact getting more and more consistent (very big tendency to curl back off the contact) lots and lots and lots of transitions and rhythm changes. For a change of pace yesterday we took her for a little jump, this is her first time in a new indoor arena and first time seeing fillers. It was a little shaky as she is not yet that brave/comfortable enough with the contact to 'take' me into the jump and also scary new fillers to back off. There video is below of a few clips of our first little jump together, you will notice my stirrups are a tad to long as I took the flat work saddle by mistake so stirrups only went up so far! (Yes I am blonde!). You should be able to see in the video how the first few clips show how we started off (backwards/hanging in the air) and the last few how we finished (more rhythmical and relaxed).

Enjoy guys and as always any comments welcome.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

RIP Hickstead!

Hi sorry have not had time to blog recently and will do a proper one very soon.
This is just a quick blog to vent my absolute disgust at the exploitation of the death of the Olyimpic Champion Hickstead! I am shocked beyond belief that people are putting video after video on U Tube in the most distasteful manner! This horse was one of the true greats and will never be forgotten through the legacy he leaves behind, and this how he should be remembered not through some sick U Tube video with repulsive comments. I am just as shocked that other than flagging the videos there is no way of directly reporting to U Tube! How they justify allowing these videos is beyond me, would they allow a video showing the death of a human!?!?!? I think NOT!! this is utterly ridiculous!
I am asking all my blog and twitter followers to report/flag these videos.
The showjumping world is in mourning for this tradic loss to the sport and Eric show a bit of repect!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Bank Holiday

Hello, well what an eventful bank holiday and for once it didn't chuck it down and drown us all weekend.
I gave up my usual Friday night tipple last weekend, as I thought I should try and have a reasonably clear head for the 4yr old Coolman Hfd's first outing. So Saturday morning off to Holden Fold Stud I went clear headed and with help from the wonderful super groom Claire got Barinka Hfd and Coolman Hfd all plaited and looking pretty for the show.

Super Groom Claire with Coolman Hfd and me and Barinka Hfd.
It was only a small local show and we only did Prelim, but as it was my first outing on the 5 yr old Barinka Hfd and it was Coolman Hfd's first EVER outing it was enough. We had a fun day Coolman Hfd enjoyed his little adventure and made sure I was aware of the fun he was having, with a few cheeky bucks in the warm up. When I finally had 99% of his attention we went in for our test and finished with a respectable 64% and third place!! Which in my eyes for 4yr old on a first outing which was really only ment to be a look and see was very pleasing.
The lovely 5 yr old Barinka Hfd was keen to show the giddy Coolman Hfd how it was done and rode a very nice test for me finishing on a personal best for the mare of 72% and first place! So all in all a very successful day leaving both myself and my trainer Angela Crane very happy ladies with the young horses.
While Barinka and Coolman we busy preparing for there outing the other horses were still coming on nicely. 3yr old Spyder Hfd his flying through his latest program to help improve suppleness and submission through the neck and back, with fantastic results. "The big guy" is now well on his way to those changes by using lots of simple changes. Also doing tempi changes using canter 4 strides then walk 2 strides then canter 4 strides ect ect striking off on the different canter lead each time, this is really helping him to bring is back end under him to the correct positioning for the flying changes and effective response from the leg aids. Fingers crossed I am hoping to have them established by next week! :).
I even managed to have a bit of "me time" this weekend which is a very rare thing when your life revolves around horses. So of all the things I could have done, guess what I did....................I baked a cake of all things!! ha ha I chuckled to myself the whole time thinking what am I doing the stables could really do with de cobwebbing and I am baking! The things you do in order to take some none horsey time are random! I even got roped into Valeting by lovely boyfriend's tractor! phhaaa. This is my lovely boyfriend who on Saturday chose to go to the cattle auction instead of supporting me at my show and then rang me NOT to ask how I got on but what time would I be back as he wanted to know what time we could set off to tractor pulling!!! And he wonders why I get stressed!! lol
Here are the two super star Hfd young horses in a not so flattering pic of me, but what the hey they look super!

Monday, 15 August 2011

It's been a while.....

Well I have been super busy running around like a headless chicken as per the norm when it comes to horses.
To say it is a Monday today I have still been able to say all day that I truly LOVE my job! The feeling you get from riding/training quality horses and seeing and feeling the progress that can be made through correct riding and training ( oh yes I had a bum kicking today from my trainer whilst we worked out some new programs for four of my rides). That is a feeling that you just can not (as all you riders know) be beaten!

So lets see what has happened since I last got chance to ramble on here...

The term "The Joys Of Horses" was used in the most sarcastic context for a week or so as the great British weather gave us lashings of rain. As we are not fortunate enough to have an indoor I spent days permanently feeling like I had just been swimming fully clothed and seriously contemplated buying a wet suit! Despite the weather the horses especially the young ones, have been pretty well behaved ( Unlike other young members of this country..... rioting and looting I mean seriously!! get a grip!!) Barinka Hfd ( 5yr old mare) has come on leaps and bounds and we finished today putting the finishing touches to the counter canter and starting the canter shoulder in and trot half pass so over all extremely happy! Now then as for the Big guy we had a few set backs to his daft aarrgghhh I am not a sensible 12yr old, I am a daft 3yr old moments. He has now once agen seen the light, and working much more supple and through in the back. Due to the fact he has had one owner for so long and progressed slowly he is not quite clued up on flying changes so that is the next task ( Who says you cant teach an old dog new tricks.... well we shall see!). The fabulous Spyder Hfd (3 yr old AES stallion) is coming along nicely, much more supple and focused  with smoother transitions staying in correct outline. That is until a nice mare gives him a squeal  and tail swish from the field, that still tends to slightly distract him for a moment!
A good friend of mine has had the month from hell with very nearly having to make the decision to put her beloved companion pony to sleep. We were all in the mindset that it was the right thing to do, as he came down with a serious case of lammy for the first time in years!! Poor old man could hardly walk, but thanks to some think outside the box advice from the new vet on the block he is practically bouncing agen! :) Here he is in our "How to treat lammy for £6" example
A few human Ice packs and elbow support bandages with a pinch of bute and he is back to normal, much to everyone's relief.
As we had some spare time in-between playing nurse to the unhelpful old man ( he kept trying to pull the ice packs off so could not be left unsupervised). We decided to tackle the issue of loading with the very beautiful but very stubborn Miss Star (7yr old Welsh Sec D). Miss Star has not been in  residence long and very nearly didn't make it to her new home as she refused point blank to load. So after being given some le-way for a month or two while she settled in and we addressed some schooling issues it was now time to tackle the trailer issue! She was not very co-operative.............................................
 But eventually with the help of a Be Nice head collar ( these are a GOD SEND for horses that barge or run backwards) some lunge lines and of course a bit of grub, she was in.
So after 10 mins of sulking in the trailer out she came only to find we wanted her to go back in! Well "Paahh to that" was the definite expression on her face, but she quickly gave in this time and even got her tea in the trailer.  Result we now have an easily loadable pony, which is good seen as how there are a few Welsh shows with her name on them!  
I think that about covers it for now, off to sleep for me to merrily dream about new training programs for my rides as I try to memorise all the new things we have put into day! I think I may have a bigger head ache when I wake up! lol (but it is all worth it!)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Putting things into perspective

Hello all, quite a quiet day on the home front. Had a nice day at HFD (Holden Fold Dressage and Stud),  The Big Guy was not to amused at having to do some hard work but we finished with some fantastic results. Barinka ( a 5yr old stunning grey mare) who has a slightly poorly shoulder enjoyed a nice hack down the lane (after nearly diving through the fence and a bird flying off from the field). The main man Spyder HFD spent some quality time with his adopted mummy (me) having a good grass munch. 
I then put myself through an hour of personal training ( No pain no gain I keep telling myself), then came home and straight on the laptop to have a nosey at the magnificent Prince Fluffy Kareem's face book. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting PFK yet let me tell you a bit about him. 
Kareem is a horse from Cairo Egypt, who was noticed a few weeks ago as going downhill fast at one of ESMA's ( Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals) weekly horse feeds and lots of us who support this cause were keeping an eye out for him. Sadly, ESMA do not have the funding to be able to buy these horses to save them, but luckily a young student, Marte, who had already rescued a tragic bay mare Na3Na3 (with malaria and other terrible issues) stepped in and saved Kareem from certain death, he was in such a pitiful state that we cannot belive he even made it to the feed site that day - 4th June 2011. With Martes actions, a few of us around the world promised to help, when we could, with finances so that this gentle horse could, hopefully, be nursed back to good health again. I am so happy that this little horse with a HUGE heart is showing us all he was worth it, he is improving daily. He is fast becoming the face of the pyramid horses of Cairo and has a worldwide following on facebook. I am one of those avid followers who eagerly awaits the latest pictures and follows the story of this brave horse. 
It really does put things into perspective for me seeing this story. I see every day the luxury we (respectable people) choose to give the horses we own and care for, as we have respect for there being on this earth. They allow us to ride and work them when they could very easily tell us to "do one", they have teeth and hooves which they could use against us. Yet the horses I work with every day do not use these natural attributes against me or anyone who cares for them as they are shown respect. Is it really too much to ask for people to show an animal who works so hard to please you some respect (i.e Feed it). In the case of PFK I really find my feelings torn. As it is due to a lack of tourism following the recent revolution in Egypt that his previous owner, like many others there find themselves with out the funds to feed the animals they continue to ask to work. It breaks my heart when the new pictures come up of the weekly ESMA horse feeds, walking skeletons is the only way I can describe it. These poor horses know no different, they are starved, beaten when they fall due to lack of energy. Many have given up and chosen to pass into what they can only hope is a better life, and even then they are shown no respect. Mass horses graves are clear for all to see around the city, bodies left in the open for scavengers. Not even given ten minuets to dig a grave from the man they earn't a living for. PFK is one of the lucky ones, he made it (practically on his death bed) that day 4th June 2011 to the horse feed. He felt the love and respect he had worked so hard for from ONE human  (Marte), and that was all that was needed........He chose to fight to live. He was shown the life he deserved (that all animals/humans deserve), a life of love and respect. 

I hope that some of you horsey readers will join me in following this brave little horses journey. It really does show that showing a little love and respect to the animal you ask so much from means a hell of allot.  

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Easy day

For the first time in the last two weeks my day has gone more or less to plan. I managed a slight lie in till 8am then off to HFD (Holden Fold Dressage and Stud) for the day. Angela was back from Verizon in France where she was competing, finishing 8th in the Kur with Mooiman HFD a fantastic result.
I was happy she was back as I felt I needed a slight kick up the bum with one of the slightly older horses on my ride list ( The Big Guy), a very cheeky Medium level horse. He is 17.2 hh and mahoosive in every way and given the fact I am only 5'4, I was finding it hard to keep him together through some of the more advanced movements. And believe me this cheeky chappy knows he is big and how to use it against you, so the slightest chance and he gives it nur nur nur you cant make me do that! Well my bum was well and truly kicked, a gruelling 40 min session of new ways to do old exercises to ensure I am firmly in the drivers seat and he is listening to me. It was a much needed reminder for both me and the horse and I now have new goals and motivation for his work. ( I don't think The Big Guy is very happy about it means more work!)
I think it is very important that no matter what level you are at in your chosen equine discipline, that you are never afraid to ask for help. You can never stop learning there are a million ways to ask a horse to do something, its all about finding the right one for you and your horse. People send me horses for schooling and breaking for all discipline's and I am good at my job, but it doesn't mean I don't get stuck from time to time. I am lucky enough to have ridden for International Show jumpers and currently be riding for an established International Grand Prix Dressage rider. So I always have fantastic advice on hand and I am not afraid to ask for it, why struggle and mess it up, when a two second question can put it right for life.
So bum kicking finished and feeling back in my legs, I worked a few more without hiccups. Then even found the time to take my favourite man ( Spyder HFD) for a cheeky much of grass after he worked so well. If only all days went this smoothly!
Spyder had to try and eat my phone too!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

There is always one thing that never fails to make u smile!!

Hello world, my first blog no idea what I am doing so bear with me and here goes.
As most people who have horses know it is never ending, one thing after another all day every day. I thought i was being smart by choosing at this moment in time to concentrate on my work riding for others, rather than keeping my own. Pah not smart at all even more running around driving here there and everywhere trying to keep everyone happy!! So after a manic day being up at silly o'clock to deal with a 5hr colic a good 40 min drive to my yard of the day Holden Fold Stud, I find I have more to ride than planned and little time to do it as i have to attend the dentist at 4 o'clock to have horrible injections and fillings due to a fall from yes u guessed it a horse. It never fails to make me think why i feel the need to put myself through the headaches and pain (from countless falls from daft breakers over the years) that horses bring...........and then I get to the last horse of the day Spyder HFD. This amazing creature reminds me what its all about, don't get me wrong I ride a lot of amazing horses young and old all day every day (its my job!). But this guy is one in a million, 3yrs old riding only a few months but oh such a dream to ride, has a total yes mum no mum attitude, learns something in seconds and straight away gives you that "whats next?" feeling. He reminds me why I do my job when you get that feeling (which all you riders will know what i am talking about) that feeling of total connection with such a powerful animal, that u know they are waiting to do anything ask of them as they want to please. That just makes me smile, everyone must think I am mad when they see me riding him as i am grinning like a Cheshire cat the whole time! Fingers crossed tomorrow wont be quite so manic, but at least i know that i will always find something to make me smile! :)